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Festus R-VI, Festus, MO

Rural School District

Outstanding Rural School District

Festus R-VI School District

Festus, Missouri

Festus R-VI School District “Home of the Tigers,” is a rural district located in Jefferson County in East Central Missouri.  The district serves approximately 3,000 students in grades K-12 and was founded in 1948.  The district includes the cities of Festus, Hematite, and Mapaville.  Geographically, the district covers 30 square miles just west of the Mississippi River and is 33 miles south of St. Louis on Interstate 55.  Attendance centers include a grade K-3 Elementary School, 4-6 Intermediate Building, 7-8 Middle School, and a 9-12 High School.

The philosophy of the Festus School District is driven by the mission statement, which states “Educating All Children to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges.”  The community certainly values education and supports their rural school.  Over the years, funds have been raised to support educational programs and the integration of technology as a tool to motivate and support academic excellence.  Facing the many challenges in the last few years of decreased funding, the district continued to work to maintain high standards.  Strong support by the community was shown in 2012 when a $5 million bond issue was passed to support the renovation of several district buildings.

The Festus School District is a quality district with many things to be proud of: (1) the district challenges all students to be the best that they can be.  Their rigorous curriculum equips students to go beyond just passing tests.  (2) The student – teacher relationship is central to the mission, but other relationships are crucial, too.  Outreach to families and partnerships with the business community and the general public help the district make sure they are meeting students’ educational needs.  (3) Charged with giving Festus’s young people a world-class education, they do everything possible to provide a safe, inspiring learning environment where effective teachers and principals work together to help all students learn to their full potential.

Academically, the Festus district has received the DESE Distinction in Performance for 10 of 12 years.  Other special awards have included the Elementary being recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 1999 and a Gold Star School in 1999.  The Middle School and High School received the Gold Star Award in 2000 and 2001 respectively.  In 2002, the district became the first school district in the State of Missouri to be awarded Level 4 Transition Accreditation by the North Central Association.  The district received the highest rating from the Center for Academic Progress in a 2010 study comparing achievement against expenditures.

Among its many programs, the Festus district has implemented a GED Options program that is now 4 years old.  The district has revised their entire electronic curriculum data base.  The High School is an A+ designated school.  Additional learning opportunities are provided by after school tutoring by use of Study Island and the purchase of Reading and Writing from A to Z.  Secondary schedules have been adjusted to allow student access to teachers for assistance and tutoring during the day.  Another major achievement of the district has been the increasing graduation rate and the decreasing dropout rate.

Festus has implemented programs and improved achievement only through and with the assistance of the Board of Education.  Such results are only possible because the Board acts and behaves in ways that research says leads to improvement.  To the Festus Board of Education, the administration, the staff, students and community, we extend congratulations for a job well done and your selection as the Outstanding Rural Missouri School District for 2013.

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